James William Rice passed away Sunday, July 26, 2020 in Webster TX at Clear Lake Hospital at the age of 88.
Jim was born in Chicago, IL on May 14, 1932 to James William Rice and Helen Margaret Lyons.
Raised in Chicago and Kansas City, Jim was a hard worker, putting his sisters and himself through Catholic High School on his scholarship. He always looked out for his family.
Dr. Rice was in aviation his entire life, working at Braniff, Continental, Bendix, Western Electric and Lockheed before founding Rice Aviation in Houston in 1972 to teach aircraft mechanics. After receiving his Ed.D from the University of Houston in 1977, Dr. Rice alongside his wife Mary Alice, helped thousands of students through the rigorous FAA Airframe and Powerplant curriculum resulting in aviation careers for many local Texans.
Rice Aviation was a pioneering contractor to Houston Community College for almost 30 years and grew to include technical schools in Ft. Lauderdale, Chesapeake, Richmond, Baltimore, Phoenix and Lubbock. After merging with the Northrop Institute in Los Angeles the name was changed to Northrop Rice USA in 1990, and grew internationally with a large school in Malaysia. His group of friends were global in scope, and he earned the respect of everyone he worked with. After selling the schools, Dr. and Mrs. Rice supported the Northrop Rice Foundation to foster technical education in aviation maintenance.
Jim cherished his Irish roots and Irish music, his Kansas City connection and the many trips with Alice and family and friends. Jim never forgot his friends in Kansas City and Chicago who helped him as a young man.
He is preceded in death by his parents, his beloved wife, Mary Alice Boeding, his sisters Helen Rice and Catherine Dearing and brother John Rice.
Dr. Rice loved aviation but he really loved his family. He is survived by his sister Sarah Mason of Kansas City, and 6 children: Mike Rice (Leslie) of Austin, Cathy Landry (Terry) of Richmond, Mark Rice (Francesca) of Sugarland, Patrick Rice of Houston, Tim Rice (Dawn) of League City and Eileen Herrington of League City.
Grandchildren include Adam Gonzalez (Anne) of Sugarland, Kara Rice of Austin, Sarah Hickl (Michael) of Sugarland, Mary Helen Rice of Los Angeles, Emily Rice of San Antonio, Kelly Rice of Sugarland, Jordan Rice of League City and Billy and Ned Herrington of League City, with Great Grand-daughter Sophie Herrington of League City.
Dr. Rice leaves behind many treasured friends and colleagues. Due to Covid-19 restrictions a family only vigil will be held Friday July 31, 2020 at Crowder Funeral home in League City. A graveside service will be held Monday August 3, 2020 in Seneca, KS.
Donations (in lieu of flowers) to the Northrop Rice Foundation (www.northropricefoundation.org) would be welcomed to help further the Dr. James W. Rice and Mary Alice Rice tradition of education of aviation maintenance personnel.